It took a record-smashing 14 seconds to defend her title against Cat Zingano, and as only she has been able to, Ronda Rousey might have topped that with a through and absolute pounding of Bethe Correia last Saturday. It ended in 34 seconds with an stone cold knockout. She added another 20 seconds, perhaps for the fans. Perhaps as well to remind the previously undefeated Correia it’s best not to taunt the “Rowdy one” with any pre-fight dribble.

She is so dominant that wins are measured in time not the outcome. How long can an opponent stay in the octagon with the UFC Queen is the standard. Her victories are a given. Only three times has she fought longer than one minute in the first round. Her last three including the KO of Aleixis Davis in 16 seconds means Rousey has taken 21.33 seconds to finish off another one. Next. She has been (and understandably so) compared to Mike Tyson in his prime where quick ending fights were the expected.

The only real opponent she has is the stopwatch.

Rousey is in a unique place, an individual seemingly without peers in her sport… except of course one-Cris Cyborg. When and if they will meet fuel discussions, while Rousey has scorched all in her path. So far she hasn’t needed what most athletes do: that single competitor, the yin to the yang, an opposite that actually compliments, connects and motives…

NBA legends Magic Johnson and Larry Bird staged the greatest indidual rivalry within the team concept during the 1980’s, constantly looking over their shoulder at how the other was doing. Rejuvenating interest in the NBA that continues today while leading their teams to 8 championships –5 for Magic’s Lakers, 3 for Bird’s Celtics

Similar has unfolded and continues in the NFL with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, perennial All Pro quarterbacks considered among the best ever. They command the attention when their teams meet. Individually most rank close to equal but Brady with 6 Super Bowl trips and 4 championships has a decided advantage over Manning’s 3 Super Bowls and 1 crown. Ironically Brady’s two Super Bowl losses were to another Manning, Peyton’s younger brother Eli.

Tiger Woods might be the greatest golfer ever. At first his challengers were those greats of the past, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus. Then Phil Mickelson emerged and Tiger had his foil, a real threat that catulputed him to 4 Masters, 4PGA and 3 U.S. Open titles.

In tennis the best has always had that one rival to keep the on their toes and at the top. In the 70’s Bjorn Borg was driven by John McEnroe and McEnroe and Jimmy Connors pushed each other to be America’s best. Martina Navratilova found her perfect match in Chris Evert through the 70’s and 80’s. Today there’s Serena Williams’ on court sibling rival Venus.

Perhaps appropriate the only individual rivaling the control Rousey has over her sport, is another combatant Floyd Mayweather Jr. at 48-0. From Oscar de la Hoya to Canelo Alvarez and Marcos Madonna, he has come out on top when challenged. His biggest rival? At least the one most discussed for years before it finally happenend in disappointing fashion at that this year, Manny Pacquiao. Their talk and hype exceeded the eventual meeting. Maybe though the biggest drive for Mayweather is the man he will never meet, the late heavyweight champ Rocky Marciano whose 49-0 record is the incentive now for Mayweather near the end of his career.

For Ronda, the man she has verbally sparred so adeptly with in separate interviews, might have the most in common. Like Mayweather’s years in the making bout with Pacquiao, Rousey and Cyborg have been the topic of conversations more than who Rousey was actually fighting. Otherwise Miesha Tate, who holds the distinction of actually going past round one with Ronda, making it to the third in their last meeting, but losing both times, seems like the next logical opponent.

Rousey might have another fight before she makes another movie. The big screen seems to offer the best challenge, until that showdown finally happens, the one with Cyborg, that might secretly be the yin and yang for both.

Until then everyone is on the clock when they step in against Rousey. Don’t blink


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